--By John E. Eichenlaub, M.D.

         Besides physical interplay, married sex involves emotional interplay. Many factors exert influence over sexual capacities. You need to provide a proper emotional framework for sex in order to achieve successful marital communion.
         You do not have to be "in the mood for sex" before your partner can stir your interest, but you
do have to be in a passably cheerful emotional state. Even if the emotional aspect of married sex meant nothing, the physical processes themselves involve nerve pathways which any major emotional disturbance thoroughly blocks. Depression, anger, fear or tension affect the muscles & glands of your sexual organs in ways which make successful sexual intercourse nearly impossible. Only a calm or happy emotional state leaves every needed nerve fiber free for its sexual function.
         A great deal of sexual excitement & satisfaction stems from emotional "echoes" & re-echoes. When you feel very close to each other, you respond compassionately to your partner's feelings & he responds to yours, building excitement in ever broader spirals. A barrier of reserve or ill-feeling between you blankets these responses, leaving sex a poor process of mechanical relief.

         As you go about your everyday married life, sexual impulses & responsiveness build up. Perhaps they take days or weeks to reach the level at which you consciously recognise them. Perhaps they remain beneath the conscious level all the time, only emerging when your partner stirs them up. But sexual allurement builds or wanes in every moment which you spend together. Sex is not a thing apart from daily married life: It is the final yielding to allurement deliberately or unintentionally exerted day by day, hour by hour, & minute by minute.
         A wife cannot loaf around the house in slovenly & unattractive garb, screech at the children all through every evening, & sleep in curlers six nights in a row, then expect to overcome a week of half-repulsion in a few minutes of deliberate appeal. A husband cannot expect to speak gruffly, bathe infrequently, & strew his clothes around the bedroom, then inspire wifely response with a few quick caresses. Love & attractiveness (or the lack of both) build up!
         The simple points of personal grooming should receive careful attention. A shower or shave may help you to rouse your wife's ardour more than any caress. A soft, clean nightgown may inspire your husband to unmatched passion. Pleasantly scented grooming aids for men, & perfume or Eau de Cologne for women, serve as simple allurements. Bath oils impart a youthful & pleasant feel to the skin which generally enhances a woman's attractiveness for her husband, too.

         If you want good sex adjustment as a couple, you must have sexual relations approximately as often as the man requires. This does not mean that you have to jump into bed if he gets the urge in the middle of supper or when you are dressing for a big party. But it does mean that a woman should never turn down her husband on appropriate occasions simply because she has no yearning of her own for sex or because she is tired or sleepy, or indeed for any reason short of a genuine disability. As a rule of thumb, I usually tell women to always meet their husbands' sexual requirements unless frank disability keeps them from performing their usual household or working duties or specific disorders of the sex organs themselves make intercourse impossible. Sex is too important for any wife to give it less call upon her energy than cooking, laundry, & a dozen other activities.
        Aside from the menstrual holidays, constant availability makes sense in several different ways. Constant availability builds your wifely appeal because every sexual impulse is nourished by the memory of past successes & is not impaired by the memory of sexual rebuffs. It builds your husband's sexual capabilities, too, because total confidence & certainty that sexual activity will never lead to disappointment is the most effective potency builder known to man.

         The mouth normally contains many bacteria which can cause infection to other body areas. The wife's breast may fail to resist these germs during milk production & for a short time thereafter. When a woman is making milk for a new baby, her milk ducts are filled with a perfect medium for bacterial growth. An interval of mouth-breast sex play which would be perfectly harmless at any other time can cause serious infection during the nursing period. Even weeks after the milk flow has ceased, blowing-type caresses may drive enough saliva into the milk ducts to cause an infection.

         You gain more satisfaction at the end if you take plenty of time with sex. Sex-generated tranquility spreads slowly to every pore of both your bodies during intercourse, & seems to explode in every area it has reached at orgasm. A quick climax is like a grenade going off in your genitals, sending bits of contentment into every limb, but a climax reached after full, slow sexual transportation is more like a planned demolition with dynamite strapped to every body part!

         When your partner seems preoccupied, tense or moody, sexual communion usually remains below par until he or she gets straightened out. Many couples make the mistake of trying to cheer each other up with sex instead of cheering each other up for it. Sex can be a fair weather friend, delightful in good times but grudging & niggardly with its rewards when circumstances get you down.
         It often helps to discuss the situations which bother you or your partner, even if you cannot change them in any way. Each of you airs his feelings through discussion. Each of you crystalises his own thoughts as well as getting the other's advice. In fact, the key role in soothing tensions & helping with problems is often that of the sympathetic listener--patient, willing to stand behind the troubled individual in any course he decides upon, helpful in suggesting possible solutions or sources of aid.
Compliments: You can help your partner to feel worthwhile as a person through ordinary compliments. Whatever you can compliment about your partner's appearance, character or behaviour certainly deserves appreciation. You will find that many perfectly proper occasions for such comments arise without resorting to flattery or exaggeration. Too many husbands & wives take each other's good points for granted & never express appreciation of them. A few words of genuine, heartfelt praise or thanks often do a great deal of good.
         In particular, you should mention praiseworthy points connected with areas in which feelings of inadequacy often strike. For wives, such areas include attractiveness, sexual competence, soundness in child-rearing effort & ability as a homemaker. For husbands, they might be masculine adequacy & command of family respect as well as that of others.
Compassion. In marriage, you need to balance self-reliance on one hand against genuine concern for your partner & genuine need for emotional support. You need to feel capable of standing on your own two feet, but you also need to depend upon your partner--to receive evidence of his concern & interest. You can both develop such two-way support through compassion: Emotional sharing of each other's trials.
How To Build Emotional Closeness: A close relationship lets you share another person's feelings quite intensely. In sex, this sharing leads to a delightful spiral. Your passion begets excitement in your partner, which in turn builds passion further. Such echoing of feelings also builds the relationship itself: If you share many emotional experiences, you become more of one person rather than two.
         Shared activities help to build such unity of feeling. If you reveal your feelings freely to each other in all sorts of experiences, you draw steadily closer to each other. Shared interests help to build the climate of interest in which spirals of feeling can flourish, & definitely improve your sex life as well as married life in general.

         A heartfelt compliment always helps to quell self-doubt. A wife who has enjoyed an orgasm should let her husband know that she's satisfied & compliment him. No matter how intense her physical response, she should not take it for granted that he knows the way she feels. A few words & caresses reveal contentment & make her mate happy.
         Perhaps more important are compliments for perhaps less satisfying sex. A husband who has brought his wife to orgasm might score himself a success even without her compliments. Not so the husband who has done well in less favourable circumstances, who might need a little encouragement.
Set Reasonable Standards of Success. Probably the biggest obstruction to sexual self-confidence today is the false notion that a competent husband brings his wife to orgasm every time he tries. According to Dr. Kinsey, less than one-fifth of women reach an orgasm 2 times out of 5, & most are content with far less. Although you might improve upon these averages, your goal should be sexual happiness, not the keeping of sexual scores!